In Ang Lee’s 1993 film, The Wedding Banquet, Simon and Wei-Tung are a gay couple living in Manhattan. Wai-Tung, played by Winston Chao, manages an apartment building owned by his Chinese parents, who still live in Taiwan. His parents are desperately trying to find him a bride, not aware of the fact that Wai-Tung is a homosexual in a relationship with a Caucasian male. Not wanting to upset his parents, Wai-Tung and Simon agree that Wai-Tung should engage in a marriage of convenience with a young Chinese woman named Wei-Wei who is in need of a green card. Wei-Wei knows about the two men and agrees that the wedding is best for all parties involved. All appears to be going according to plan until Wai-Tung’s parents unexpectedly show up in New York and intend to throw a large banquet honouring the marriage of their son.
Winston Chao Wen-hsuan was born in June of 1960 in Taiwan. Leading a simple life, Chao was working as an airline steward when director Ang Lee discovered him and offered him a role in the film The Wedding Banquet. Chao was understandably reluctant at first, as he had absolutely no previous acting experience whatsoever. Lee felt Chao had potential and took the young man under his wing, spending up to four hours each day teaching Chao how to be an actor.
After his 1993 performance, Chao continued to seek other roles, mostly with Taiwanese Chinese themes and characters. Chao appeared in another Ang Lee film, Eat Drink Man Woman, before taking up the role of Sun Yat-sen in five different projects. The role was fitting for Chao, given that his father was a historian and teacher on the life of Sun Yat-sen.
Following his film success, Chao began to appear in a variety of television roles and historical pieces. The actor has won awards as Best Actor and Most Popular Actor from the Lily Awards, Shanghai International Film Festival, and Guangzhou Student Film Festival.
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Following his breakout performance in 1993’s The Wedding Banquet, Chao was cast in another Ang Lee project, Eat Drink Man Woman, as well as the film Red Rose White Rose in 1994. The actor continued to appear in films throughout the 1990’s, including Taiwanese and independent pictures such as Xiu Xiu, Thunder Cop, In a Strange City, Intimates, and The Island of Greed.
In 1997, Chao took on one of his most famous roles, that of Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen in a number of historically-themed films including The Soong Sisters, Road to Dawn, and 1911. Chao also played the role for television series. The accomplished actor is still active, appearing in many historical dramas and television series.